The XX

xx marks the spot

Nationality: UK

Genre: Indie pop


This bunch were barely out of school when they brought out their debut album, XX, in 2009, a mellow lo-fi project with male/female vocals that went down an instant storm throughout the UK, going to number three in the charts and also producing a Top 20 album in Islands.

The aura of the album is that of young folk gathering at night and playing music while trying to keep the noise down and not wake up the neighbours. Which is basically what it is. It may not be massively refined musically, but it’s the sleepy mood and sheer simplicity of their material that is its main appeal. The critics loved it, and although they didn’t win any of the categories, they were nominated for Best British Album, Best British Breakthrough and Best British Band.

Not long after their overnight success, they were playing in front of a packed Razzmatazz in Barcelona. Most of the crowd were left wondering what the fuss was about – but the show wasn’t helped by the awful acoustics in the hall and the fact that their music was often drowned out by the sound of murmuring voices. And that was just a week after guitarist Baria Qureshi had quit the band, and they decided to press on as a three-piece. Not easy things for such a young band to have to deal with.

They were also at Primavera Sound that year, and with considerably more success, and there’s much hype about them appearing here once again, although they have not released any new material in the meantime. That’s about to change. Says Jamie Smith “hopefully we’ll get it done in time for most festivals next year … We’ve all come back off tour and been partying a bit more. We left when we were 17 and we missed out on that chunk of our lives when everyone else was partying. Club music has definitely had an influence on the next record.” The music press will be there with notebooks at the ready – this gig is a make-or-break moment for the xx. Be nice to them, they deserve it.

Did you know: The background music for Rihanna’s song Drunk On Love is actually Intro from The xx’s first album.


Thursday May 31, 2012 Barcelona Primavera Sound


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